International Communism and World Revolution: History & Methods

By Günther Nollau | Go to book overview

Appendix III
WILHELM PIECK'S PART IN THE ARREST OF ROSA LUXEMBURG AND KARL LIEBKNECHT

FROM time to time it has been hinted that after his arrest by officers of the Dismounted Cavalry Guard (Garde-Kavallerie-Schützen- Division), Wilhelm Pieck, now President of the East German "People's Republic", gave information leading to the arrest of Liebknecht and Luxemburg.

Contrary to this belief, what actually happened was this. Hauptmann (Captain) Waldemar Pabst, at that time ( 1919) Senior General Staff officer of this division, had given instructions that the Einwohnerwehr (citizen guards, a kind of Home Guard) were to arrest Liebknecht and Luxemburg and to deliver them to Pabst at his headquarters in the Eden Hotel in Berlin. On 15 January 1919 Liebknecht and Luxemburg were caught and taken to the Eden Hotel, whence they were subsequently taken to meet their fate.

Hauptmann Pabst had not given instructions for the arrest of Wilhelm Pieck. In fact, Pabst did not know Pieck, who was at this time one of the leaders of the "Revolutionäre Betriebsobleute" (revolutionary factory "shop stewards"). When Pieck was brought before Pabst, he seemed to be a broken man, possibly because what he had heard from the conversation of his soldier escorts had already given him an idea of what had happened to Liebknecht and Luxemburg.

Pabst asked him if he was willing to provide information on the addresses of Communists and the location of Communist hiding places and secret weapon stores. Pieck told Pabst everything he knew and "as a reward" was set free. The information he gave was of great assistance to the soldiers of the Dismounted Cavalry Guard when they combed Berlin in the weeks following, and led to the arrest of Leo Jogiches, Rosa Luxemburg's close confidant, and the discovery of several stores of arms. Jogiches met his end shortly afterwards by "falling down a flight of stairs" in the Moabit court building in Berlin.

(The foregoing information was given to the author by Herr Waldemar Pabst, Major a.D. on 30 November 1959.)

Although Pieck's release must have seemed remarkable to everyone, and particularly to the "wide-awake" Communists, no action was ever taken against him, not even during the Moscow purges.

At this time, of course, a minute examination was being made of

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